Of the many controversial parts of the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act — and might I add, that controversy is on both side of the aisle — is the provision to defund Planned Parenthood. While a number of politicians and reproductive rights activists have mobilized against this effort, leaders in other sectors are speaking out, as well. This week, 74 tech leaders signed an open letter in support of Planned Parenthood.
Heavy hitters in the tech world — including David Karp, the CEO of Tumblr; Anthony Casalena, the CEO of Squarespace; Jennifer Hyman, the CEO of Rent the Runway; and Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit — are making it a priority to fight against the new proposed health care bill. The letter begins by explicitly connecting the success of the tech industry to the success of health care providers, like Planned Parenthood:
As business leaders committed to connecting people with the information and services they need to thrive, we urge Congress not to pursue any legislation that blocks women from accessing critical preventive care – including well-woman exams, birth control, and cancer screenings – at Planned Parenthood health centers.
The letter continues:
We urge Congress not to pursue any legislation that blocks women from accessing critical preventive care – including well-woman exams, birth control, and cancer screenings – at Planned Parenthood health centers. There is no doubt that current congressional efforts to cut off access to this essential health care provider would hurt women, their families, and the businesses they lead, work for, and support.
When policymakers in Washington, DC, talk about “defunding” Planned Parenthood, they are talking about dismantling access to basic health care in communities across the country, and stopping progress in its tracks. Indeed, our country is at a thirty-year low for unintended pregnancy and a historic low for teen pregnancy.
Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of women’s health care in the United States and is responsible for, according to their site, "birth control information and services to 2.1 million patients, helping to prevent 516,000 unintended pregnancies and 217,000 abortions." It's not just family planning services either that are crucial women's health resources, they also take care of "providing cancer screenings to 88,000 women whose cancer was detected early or whose abnormalities were identified and addressed."
Other titans of the tech world have also stepped up to support Planned Parenthood, even those that didn't sign onto the letter. COO of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg pledged $1 million to the nonprofit after Trump reinstated the Global Gag Rule. In fact, it was Trump's move to block all funds to international health care organizations that offer abortions that led Sandberg to take a stance against his administration, according to her statement regarding the donation.
With the tech industry lining up to fight against the recent campaigns to restrict women's reproductive health care, Republican may be picking the wrong fight.